Publication Details

Blackall, D. "Learning skills in journalistic skepticism while recognising whistleblowers." The European Conference on Education 2014 Brighton, United Kingdom Official Conference Proceedings. Naka Ward, Nagoya, Aichi Japan: The International Academic Forum (IAFOR), 2014. 13-26. 2014

Link to publisher version (URL)

ECE2014 Proceedings

Additional Publication Information

ISSN: 2188-1162


This paper explains a didactic program of blending provocative teaching method with experiential learning - at third year of the Bachelor of Journalism and Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies - University of Wollongong, Australia. There are pedagogical imperatives today for developing the professional ‘self’ in respect to citizenship, journalistic values and practice. The challenge is to acknowledge ethics and principles of human rights, while simultaneously embracing the transforming online, open-source Internet technologies. This can be achieved through a learning combination that exposes students to ‘provocative’ counter news, often whistleblower generated, while setting experiential learning assignments to engage volunteer journalism sites and their aligned aspirational values. The approach first acknowledges Chomsky’s propaganda model of news then it presents participants with a judicious and provocative news-flow with verifiable, current and yet alternative stories - otherwise misrepresented or omitted in mainstream news. Participants are then asked to write and publish news of their own, through the Wikimedia Foundation project, Wikinews. In association with regular ‘editor’ volunteers, Wikinews develops news-writing, increases appreciation of editorial processes and encourages respect for accuracy and due-diligence. Exposure to ‘provocative news-flow’ alerts participants to propaganda and assists in identifying actionable news stories. In combination, these processes connect the emerging journalist to a sense of belonging to a professional ‘newsroom’. A network of volunteer practitioners, including their student colleagues and their tutor as ‘chief of staff’, may also develop a sustainable pool of future Wikinews contributors and accredited editors.